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Scott Roberts
Jurassic World
on Jun 12, 2015 at 5:47:59 pm
Last Edited By Scott Roberts on Jun 12, 2015 at 5:57:39 pm

To answer your first immediate question: yes, I do own a glow in the dark velociraptor t-shirt. And yes, it will probably sway my judgement in regards to this movie.

Jurassic World (if you've never heard of it, because it was barely advertised anywhere) is the follow up to Jurassic Park, which omits the two sequels from the timeline; which is ok with me, even though I don't really hate either of the sequels. This new one imagines what it would be like if the park actually became successful, and corporations took over the park with their shady interests. There's a pretty extended shot of Chris Pratt firing a gun at a dinosaur with a clearly lit Starbucks sign glowing in the background, almost in focus, that made me laugh more than get angry at the product placement. If Jurassic World really existed, are you going to attempt to argue that there *wouldn't* be a Starbucks and a Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville in the town square?

While I guess the main characters would be Bryce Dallas Howard's park manager lady, and Pratt's rugged raptor trainer guy, there are two other characters much more worth noting. First, is the 13-year-old kid played by Ty Simpkins, the latest child to be manufactured out of the Amblin Entertainment Little Boy Machine, who represents the child in us all who would love to experience something like a dinosaur park. And the second is Jake Johnson's hilarious control room character, who wears a vintage Jurassic Park t-shirt and meta-winks about how awesome the original park was on a consistent basis, who represents the man-child we've all become who still isn't afraid to admit they love this franchise. Oh and thirdly is the mosasaur. That thing rules.

The action is pretty solid. I was worried going in that the overuse of CG would ruin it, but whatever, it's kind of expected at this point. I think they still used a few practical dino heads here and there. I found the action to be as decent as pretty much any summer blockbuster you'd expect to see nowadays. Maybe better. I actually found this movie to probably be more entertaining than Age of Ultron. But that's just me.

Maybe the movie is a little too long-winded, but if you stick with it, it pays off. Once the climax started happening, it took about 5 seconds for me to assume what would happen next, which basically occurred as I imagined. That's not to say it's bad. To be clear, I was pretty pumped at the end. But if you've seen the original film thirty times in your life like I have, you can figure out where they're going to go with it.

On that note, as far as the fan service goes... Let me put it this way... You should not only *expect* fan service in a movie like this, but you just go ahead and embrace it. As revolutionary and amazing as Jurassic Park was, it's now just become a #brand over the last 20 years. And the writers of Jurassic World have fully acknowledged that. I'm going to say that 80% of Jurassic World is just nostalgic hat tips to Jurassic Park, and because that was the obvious intention, I'm not really going to hold it against the movie. It's one thing to do what Terminator does and make sure to force in Arnold's classic lines "I'LL BE BACK", "HASTA LA VISTA, BABY" amidst trying to do something new, but I think it's a different thing (and not necessarily a bad thing) to essentially just base your entire film around the direct acknowledgement of the thing you're feeding off of.

I mean, the nostalgia is built directly into the plot, so if you're not in it for the nostalgia, then you probably won't enjoy it that much. Jurassic World is basically the dream of the 10 year old who loved Jurassic Park when they were a kid, who wished that the park actually became a successful, real place; and visualizing what it would look like. And then mix that in with modern CGI action, add conflict, and you've got a good, very watchable summer blockbuster.

You know what, you can probably just void my entire review, because I'm a very biased Jurassic Park nerd. When I was a kid, I bought into the entire JP franchise machine. I had the toys, t-shirts, the very warm Jurassic Park comforter with all the dinos on it; I had it all. Jurassic Park was designed to make money in both the world of the film, and through the film itself. I'd go to Jurassic World if it really existed. I like going to the zoo and staring at the sleeping wombats, so I'd definitely like to see a dinosaur. This movie is nearly 100% wish-fulfillment for turds like me. But that's beside the point. If you don't want to give into the fact that this is catered towards current children, and 30 something man-children who used to be Jurassic Park's current children, then don't even bother, because you're just going to be a smarmy jerk about it. Why are you trying to ruin my fun?

Jurassic World is a satisfying corporate meal. It's like going to McDonald's. A lot of people aren't going to like it, because they are simply against the fact that some giant corporation is shoving generic food down their throats, but at the same time, McDonald's can be delicious. Jurassic World isn't the dollar menu trash that McDonald's slops your way, it's more like an Egg McMuffin. There's nothing wrong with an Egg McMuffin, other than the fact that it's probably pretty unhealthy for you. But it tastes so good, and it's such a classic sandwich! I will shamelessly throw money at McDonald's to get me some McMuffins, even though I know I'm just feeding the machine. Sometimes I'd rather have the classic, nostalgic taste of McDonald's over the consistently made, well-engineered food at Chipotle (Marvel). Because even eating there is feeding into the corporate machine, but maybe it hides it a little better because it's cool and hip and you get a lot of food for the price you pay. But you eat enough Chipotle in a short period of time, you start to get sick of it, too.

Then where do you turn? You can only eat a delicious, perfectly cooked, medium rare filet mignon with caramelized onions on top (Mad Max: Fury Road) every once in a while, because it's a rare treat. For the most part you're stuck eating normal food, like Taco Bell's exploding nacho quesaritos with Dorito shells (Furious 7), or a bag of White Castle sliders that will fill you up for a few hours before you're desperately hungry again (San Andreas). At least we're not settling for a 6" turkey club at Subway (Poltergeist '15). I think what I'm trying to say is that I'm hungry and I'm going to go get some lunch.

I liked Jurassic World, and I assume someone will go see it on my recommendation and then come back and say "That sucked, dude! You suck!" In response, I'll just stare off into the distance, and say "They're moving in herds. They do move in herds." And slowly walk away from them.

8.5 out of 10

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Tim Wilson
Re: Jurassic World
on Jun 12, 2015 at 7:17:03 pm

I'm not surprised to see one of your classic reviews for a great entry in a great franchise that you've loved for most of your life -- but an 8.5? That's the same grade you gave Spy.

Now me, I disagreed with your Spy grade. On a scale of 10, I'd give Spy an eleventy-fifteen.

I know that scores aren't given relative to other movies, so the same score on two movies doesn't necessarily mean anything about your head-to-head ranking...but I can't account for a grade of 8.5 for JW based on your review. Can you say more?

I should note that I'm not going to see JW because killing dinosaurs in JP made me cry (yes, I was in my 30s, shut up). But I'm curious.

PS. "Better than Age of Ultron" is a medium-low bar to me. It was better than Avengers, but that's an even lower bar for me. Like, Blimpee's low. Stale bread AND too much lettuce.

(Subway pro tip: no lettuce. If you need greenery, stick with spinach. You'll be amazed.)

I'm still glad to hear this went well in general. Chris Pratt is a god, and deserves to be paid like one. And here's my semi-annual pimping of his work on Everwood, which you NEED to see.

But this here is all the advertising Jurassic Park really needed:

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Mark Suszko
Re: Jurassic World
on Jun 12, 2015 at 8:56:34 pm

I have to tell you a JP anecdote, about the first time my young son watched it at home with us. We'd decided he was old enough to watch if he sat on the couch with us and we paused to explain stuff or calm him down, but he was all business about seeing the Big Dino Movie his friends had all seen already. At the age he was then, cars, trucks, vehicles were the coolest things in the world, people were just accessories to vehicles.

So the scene with the T Rex and the jeep comes up, and he's totally un-phased by the lawyer getting eaten, By Ned getting killed, or the kids getting scared on screen.

No, he goes to pieces, crying and upset, as the T-Rex keeps stomping and biting the JEEP.


We had to pause the movie there and calm him down, talk it over.

He has had a hate for T-Rex to this day, I think.

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Tim Wilson
Re: Jurassic World
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:00:43 pm

[Mark Suszko] " he's totally un-phased by the lawyer getting eaten, By Ned getting killed, or the kids getting scared on screen."

See? I get that he didn't care that much about people getting eaten. I get that he was upset about the jeep, tools.

It's certainly true that kids in particular are attracted to dinosaurs and other monsters, for some of the same reasons they're attracted to trucks -- a giant scary thing that I ultimately wield power over.

Some grown-ups too. The more horrifying a horror scene, the more adrenaline it produces, and the greater catharsis. That's why we go see scary movies.

I'm totally on board with that too. (And human evolution frankly doesn't care if I'm on board or not. This fear-adrenaline-catharsis cycle is hard-wired.)

But I really like dinosaurs. I empathize with the ones in this movie. They're not bad, they're just genetically drawn that way.

Not that THAT matters in reality either. If something needs killing, ya kill it. But I'd really rather see everyone but Chris Pratt and maaaaybe Miss Howard dead anyway. Okay, and the kids I guess. Just like the first times in the barrel: give me Goldblum, Neill, Dern, Moore, the kids, and let's call it square. Kill the rest.

In fact, I'd have killed John Hammond in the first one, while he was eating ice cream. Not because he was evil. The idea of Jurassic Park was cool as fork, and his heart was in the right place. I'd have killed him for the same reason you kill Quint in Jaws.

Anything but killing the dinosaurs, man. If it was just a couple of small ones offscreen and one big 'un, a la Jaws, that'd be one thing. I'm just too delicate for much more dinosaur killing than that.

I mean, really, the story is of TECHNOLOGY run amok, not animals...but the solution is to kill the animals? No. Kill all the ppl instead. LOL

Hey, and while we're at it, a tip of the hat to Michael Crichton, whose ideas endure. This, the upcoming Westworld reboot, the still classic Andromeda Strain -- the man could spin a yarn of technology run amok as well as anyone ever has.

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Scott Roberts
Re: Jurassic World
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:13:04 pm
Last Edited By Scott Roberts on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:16:34 pm

Well, the T Rex does to to town on that Jeep like it killed her mother.

[Tim Wilson] "I know that scores aren't given relative to other movies, so the same score on two movies doesn't necessarily mean anything about your head-to-head ranking...but I can't account for a grade of 8.5 for JW based on your review. Can you say more?"

This is probably just a result of crappy scoring on my part. I tend to think of of my scores out of 10s as more of a "grade" I guess, which begs to ask why I don't just give them grades instead of number scores? I don't know, for sure, but I guess I'll keep doing the score because I've already been doing it that way.

So, I'm pretty much giving Jurassic World a B+ by giving it an 8.5. In my mind, that's not a mind blowing score, but still a really good score. Relative to Spy, I probably would give it the same-ish grade. I was probably entertained equally for the two entirely different films. I see so many movies that that it's hard not to have two things that don't seem equal end up kind of equal.

As for not accounting for why I gave it an 8.5 well enough... Well, that's probably because I got too hung up on defending the nostalgia, and failed to report that it's just, like, a pretty fun movie! It's bogged down by a lot of characters, but not *nearly* as many as Age of Ultron.

So, to sort of explain my crappy score system, which is numbers despite being treated like grades... There's a lot more scores to give for bad movies than good ones, i.e. giving a score of 0 through 6.5, which would be a D+, and not really that good, but still passable. But since I like more movies than I dislike, because I just really like watching movies, I tend to have anything I don't hate end up somewhere in the 7 through 8.5 range. Which is like a C- to a B+. So, sadly, for my score scale, most things end up looking like I give them similar scores, even if I find a pretty big difference (in my head) between an 8.5 and a 7.5.

HOWEVER, just to justify I'm not throwing random great scores at everything, if you were to look back at my reviews, you probably wouldn't see THAT many 9's or higher. Probably less than 15 over the last several years. And even fewer 10's. I think I've only given 10 out of 10's (in the spectrum of what I've reviewed, not *all* of film) to Django Unchained, Guardians of the Galaxy, Birdman, and Mad Max: Fury Road. Maybe one more, but I can't think of it. So I hold an "A" quality film to a rare standard I suppose. But, yeah, I will throw out B's like I'm desperate to give them away, haha. I just like movies!

(as evident by my haphazard explanation, you'll see why Colombia Pictures rejected my draft of Moneyball)

[Tim Wilson] "Subway pro tip: no lettuce. If you need greenery, stick with spinach. You'll be amazed."

I've been going spinach at Subway for about three years now. Haven't looked back. That giant wad of flavorless, shredded iceberg was a *huge* part of the problem with that place.

[Tim Wilson] "Anything but killing the dinosaurs, man. If it was just a couple of small ones offscreen and one big 'un, a la Jaws, that'd be one thing. I'm just too delicate for much more dinosaur killing than that. "

Oh, yeah you'd definitely cry at this one scene Jurassic World. BUT to be fair, it's a dino on dino crime. Still sad, nonetheless.

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Tim Wilson
Re: Jurassic World
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:39:11 pm

[Scott Roberts] "Well, the T Rex does to to town on that Jeep like it killed her mother."

Nah, more like chewing gum. Keep watching that gif and tell me you're not waiting for her to lean back and blow a bubble.

[Scott Roberts] " if you were to look back at my reviews, you probably wouldn't see THAT many 9's or higher."

No no, I think your scale is just fine. I think your percentage of top grades is right. I was just surprised that a World of Jurassic Parks and Worlds picture that you really enjoyed wouldn't be worth about a 9.2.

I agree with your point about nostalgia, too. This movie NEEDS to be mostly a victory lap for the first one, which neither the second nor third was able to fully provide. (You're right about those too: the worst of 'em is at least pretty good.) There's a whole lot of people at the COW who are here because Jurassic Park inspired them.

And yes, I watched the first three, but I can't do it anymore. Like all men, I'm getting more fragile as I age, and I still haven't recovered from JP 3D in IMAX.

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Stephen Smith
Re: Jurassic World
on Jun 16, 2015 at 5:45:16 pm

I have a rule, I only watch the first trailer and I don't watch the others. When I watched the Avengers they showed Jurassic World Trailer 3. After seeing the movie I'm so disappointed that they gave away everything in the trailer and made the movie a less enjoyable experience for me. Overall the movie was fun and I'm glad I went.

Spoiler ahead unless you have seen trailer 3:

Was it just me but it felt like they set up plot points that really didn't do anything to advance the story. What was the purpose of the two kids parents getting divorced? Why did they introduce that the older kid had a girl friend that he didn't care about and wanted to hook up with every girl in the park? Why did Chris Pratt and the CEO of Jurassic World all the sudden fall in love? I guess they explained that one in Speed.

It will be interesting to see what they do with the sequel.

To me I was really disappointed that one of the two brothers didn't know how to do gymnastics as seen in this clip :-)

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page

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Tim Wilson
Re: Jurassic World
on Jun 17, 2015 at 5:07:15 am

Man, I hated this movie.

[Stephen Smith] "Was it just me but it felt like they set up plot points that really didn't do anything to advance the story. "

No, I think you're exactly right. Movies like this don't need ACTUAL plots -- dinosaurs run amok? Sold! -- but every one of the subplots was ridiculous.

In addition to the ones you mention, I'm up for using military CONTRACTORS (not the military) as villains, and I'm up for such villains having mercenaries at their disposal -- but c'mon, breeding raptors as weapons?

Did they not see Aliens? LOL You don't use raptors for weapons for the same reason you don't use lions or snakes. Bullets stop 'em, and they're unpredictable. Bad, bad idea, and I don't think the stupidest, greediest defense contractor in the world would go for this, even as an experiment.

Because presumably at least one of those people would have seen Aliens. LOL

I only went to see JW because some people we trusted said, "Nah, it's not that bad. Hardly any killings on screen."

What? There are *UCKLOAD of dinosaurs killed. As noted here, I don't care about killing people. It's the wanton destruction of dinosaurs for no other reason than that PEOPLE are idiots that bothers me. And TONS of dinosaurs died for exactly this reason -- human systems failed, so I guess we gotta kill every dinosaur we possibly can. In gratuitously brutal and explicit ways, including a soldier of fortune who shoots a flying dino just for yuks. He doesn't even die as payback.

I think I may have gotten my lifetime's quota of things getting killed by having their neck's snapped.

Yes, it was fun to see T. Rex be part of the heroic team. And Sea World has to love that the equivalent Shamu dealt the fatal blow. See? We really SHOULD keep killer whales in captivity!

(Yes, keeping dinosaurs in captivity is a different thing. I get this, but I don't think Sea World does.)

In addition to reports from friends that the dino-gore factor was pretty low, I like Chris Pratt so much that I was susceptible to persuasion. I sure didn't like him in this. No wit, no charm.

And as you observe Stephen, there was that completely gratuitous "love" thing that included explicit sexual harrassment. Even if I was going to allow the uninvited kiss that he planted on Bryce as "romantic" (which I don't), itwas just flat. No spark at all....but why SHOULD there have been a spark. She didn't ask for the kiss, and she certainly didn't seem to enjoy it.

(An AWESOME twist on this was the nerd girl rebuffing the nerd boy. It was very sweet, and he took it like a gentleman, but it offered a refreshing contrast.)

Mostly though, they made Chris boring, which is quite an accomplishment. The filmmakers should congratulate themselves for doing something I thought was impossible. Well done, chaps. Well done.

Bryce Howard did as well with the part as the script allowed, but no way that a GIRL of that age and demeanor (and she was written far more as a girl than a woman) would be the head of operations for something with the kind of money and complexity of Jurassic World.

Nor would she be the one to close the deal with Verizon for sponsorship rights for a NEW DINOSAUR. Irrfan Khan would have been there, and so would the big money members of the board.

I actually just looked this up. US Bank just paid $200 million for 20 year naming rights to the new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings -- and the Vikings SUCK. And that's just 20 years.

How much would it cost to have naming rights to a brand new dinosaur? Surely not less than $1 billion. That's just 5 times more than US Bank paid to sponsor a stadium for the freaking VIKINGS.

And NO WAY does Bryce Howard close a billion dollar deal. And frankly, no way that those three clowns in business suits who were supposed to work for Verizon would either.

Bryce as written was barely more than a docent giving a tour of the lab. At best, she's Irrfan Khan's administrative assistant. Smart, competent, professional, but not a high-level exec herself. I just didn't buy this character at all.

Plus, everything Stephen said. Completely agreed.

Okay, that's high-level stuff. Structural.

Not shockingly, I do have some minor thoughts:

== There were more closeups of the Mercedes logo than there were dinosaurs. I'm fine with that, but I'm kind of surprised nobody has mentioned. I can't think of more blatant or frequent product placement than Subway on the TV show Chuck, but there, it was treated playfully, almost but not quite meta, and Subway was clearly along for the ride. The Mercedes product placement here is as inexplicably serious as the rest of the movie.

== And really, this movie is inexplicably serious. Barely any sense of wonder. Other than a couple of underwritten quips, and a couple of nice nerd bits in the control room, what a humorless chore this was.

Where have you gone Jeff Goldblum? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you!

== I'm not generally a John Williams fan. Much too heavy. But I still got chills the first time we hear the theme as we're looking at Jurassic World for the first time. It's not as instantly hummable as the biggies, but I think it might be my favorite of his themes. Yay!

== That kid who's managing the line for those hamster ball cars that people can drive out into the meadow full of grazing dinosaurs right? He's unkempt, slumping, not really paying attention, and frankly, not very attractive.

Quite simply, not attractive enough to work at Jurassic World.

If there was a real Jurassic World, an island where visitors surely spend thousands to attend, EVERYONE who worked there would look like Bryce Howard, Chris Pratt, Irrfan Khan, and BD Wong. (That is a freakishly good looking man.)

No kidding, y'all've been to Disney, right? Ever seen anyone working there who's kind of a slob and not really paying attention? No. Of course not. Even the nerds at Jurassic World are cute nerds. No Wayne Knight this time, nosiree. So what up with that kid managing what's potentially among the most dangerous attractions in the park?

== I just figured it out. Manager of Guest Relations. That's the job Bryce would have. She wouldn't be in charge of the resort business within Jurassic World. She'd just be sure to make sure everybody was happy in their room. She'd report to the hotel manager, who'd report to the operations manager, all of whom would report to a GM, who'd report to a VP.

The VP would be the lowest person on the totem pole who'd handle a Verizon Wireless walkthrough, but would yield the floor to the VP of R&D...or more likely, the CTO (to whom BD Wong would be reporting -- no way he's the CTO).

And no way Bryce is there standing in for Irrfan Khan. (I really like that guy, btw. More people should hire him.)

== Wait a minute, they let 16 year olds drive vehicles unsupervised into flocks of grazing dinosaurs? NO WAY.

No way ANYONE would be able to drive a vehicle willy-nilly into a group of ANY wild animals, much less "designer" creatures who surely cost 9 figures EACH to breed.

So actually, this is a STUPENDOUS structural lapse in the script. The peril that the boys fell into because they drove the vehicle too far after the "everybody in" command is given is 100000% never, ever going to happen.

I'm not just talking about "at Jurassic World." How many golf resorts let 16 year olds drive golf carts anywhere they want? NONE.

== Back to Jurassic World, there's no override for kids run amok in the vehicles? There's no button that our indolent slob ride attendent wouldn't be able to touch to MAKE all the vehicles come in in an orderly fashion? Of COURSE they would...assuming they were stupid enough to ever let guests of ANY age just drive vehicles into a herd of dinosaurs.

== If nothing else, you'd want some kind of "we're bringing this cart back to the shed whether you like it or not" command for a-holes who are harassing the dinosaurs. And you know there would be.

Plus the people who say, "I paid $10,000 to be here. I'll take a few more minutes driving my own vehicle willy-nilly through this herd of dinosaurs if I dang well want to." Uhm, no. Time's up.

== At my grocery store, if I push my grocery cart too far, the wheels lock. I simply can't go any further unless I pick the cart up and carry it on my back.

Jurassic World doesn't have this for those hamster ball vehicles? There's no grocery-cart level tech to keep those vehicles from going too far away? Because I guarantee that my grocery cart doesn't have any space-age telemetry that's reporting GPS coordinates back to the control room where it's projected on a 3D map of the parking lot.

== This is somewhere between structural and niggling, but Verizon Wireless just payed a billion dollars to name a dinosaur, and they're going to let Jurassic World have crappy cell phone reception?

Jurassic World would have told every cell service vendor on the planet, we want a satellite parked right over our beautifully coiffed heads, and we want to be the only thing on it. You will build as many discreetly camouflaged towers as it takes for us to have 100% coverage all the time...and you will pay US for the privilege.

I guarantee you that vendors would be falling over themselves to do this. Then they'd sell souvenir burner phones with the Jurassic World logo once you got to the park, charge a fortune for a day's access, discounts for longer stays, and you'd take the phone home with a gift card for more airtime.

And the park would do the same thing with walkie talkie radio towers. There's simply no scenario where anybody would lose radio contact, phone contact, or both. Even a resort with a corrupt research chief colluding with a venal defense contractor would understand that lives depend on reliable radios.

I mean that's obviously a stupid thing for me to say, but it's moronic to ask me to believe that they wouldn't have figured this out before the joint even opened. They'd have needed to lock this down to even make construction possible. It's as basic as water.

Seriously, the whole movie is full of this basic ineptitude. This is a parallel universe where you can build a dinosaur from scratch, and you can't manage hamster balls or cell phones, you can't find the right job for Bryce Howard, and you can't keep somebody as slovenly and disengaged as the hamster ball attendant back on the mainland working at Carl's Jr?

I'm going to stop now, although I can't promise I won't come back and rant some more. I really did hate everything about this.

Besides the reprise of the Jurassic Park theme. I loved that.

[Stephen Smith] "It will be interesting to see what they do with the sequel. "

You are a kind and generous soul, Mr. Smith, with a spark of optimism and faith in these filmmakers that I'd find inspiring if I were a better person. LOL

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Mark Suszko
Re: Jurassic World
on Jun 17, 2015 at 6:50:58 am

I just saw it tonight with the wife. We found it entertaining but predictable as clockwork. My favorite bit had to be when the escaping boys stumble into the main base of the Old Original Park, where so much of the first movie was set. There they did a good job with the references and call-backs, a lot of iconic shots from the first movie re-enacted... but even there as Tim would point out, they had to eff up the plot by saying: "yeah, the folks in charge just left this 20-year-old custom jeep here and it only needs a borrowed car battery off the "20 year old car batteries shelf" to get it going again." Is that as bad as " Hey, this is Unix, I KNOW THIS!"? I dunno. Never once was I told to hang onto my butt, either. But seriously, folks, this movie has more Chekhov's Guns than Walmart has sporting arms, and they tick each one off in succession like clockwork, so there is really very little to surprise. I thought Pratt was okay but they didn't give him much to work with. I'd rate it as better than the previous two sequels, but even with better technology, it isn't as strong where it counts, in STORY. Someone needs to bring back the storysaurus from extinction.

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Mike Cohen
Re: Jurassic World
on Jun 17, 2015 at 3:17:03 pm

For the record, we recently got a new puppy, so I probably won't see most of the Summer movies until they come to RedBox.
Sounds like JW can wait.

Entertainment Weekly makes it sound like Chris Pratt is the second coming of Harrison Ford, and likely to be the next Indiana Jones. Sallah help us.

Recently the SciFi Channel has been running JP marathons. I have of course seen the original 20 or so times over the years, including the IMAX 3D version which was very well done, though it was the original cinematography which made that possible. (I saw JP2-The Lost World in the theater, and JP3 on DVD.) Anyway, I watched part of JP2 last week on TV and A)could not believe Spielberg directed this broad, poorly acted drivel, and B) could not believe how poorly the movie holds up compared to the original, and C) it was perhaps one step above Sharknado in quality.

I'll report back once I see this

Mike Cohen

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Stephen Smith
Re: Jurassic World
on Jun 17, 2015 at 7:34:23 pm

This is a must watch and you have to stick around to the end with the Michael Crichton sound bite:

Tim, as for the hamster balls I was waiting for you to say Jimmy Fallon is a liar! How could he tell us they are safe! Or maybe you did write it on your phone but then lost your cell signal. In all seriousness I really did like his cameo and Jurassic World was better then JP 2 & 3.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page

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Tim Wilson
Re: Jurassic World
on Jun 17, 2015 at 11:16:00 pm

[Stephen Smith] "Tim, as for the hamster balls I was waiting for you to say Jimmy Fallon is a liar! How could he tell us they are safe! Or maybe you did write it on your phone but then lost your cell signal. "

Ha! Yes, I liked his cameo. Comcast owns Universal and NBC, so it made perfect sense.

And in fact, Jimmy got his ass kicked in those little videos. LOL

Maybe this was better than J2 and J3 -- MAYBE. But J2 had Jeff Goldblum and Julianne Moore, and J3 had Sam Neill...

...which points out something I hadn't thought of until just now. The protagonists of the first ones were scientists. This time, it's a (should-be) mid-level hotel manager and the animal guy. That automatically turns this into a caper, and slices off the top end of the potential intelligence of the thing.

I also contrast the peril in JP and JW. In that one, everyone is in a Jeep on a track. YES. And plenty of peril forced them out of the car and into the jungle.

I get that you don't want to do that the exact same way again....but it really was possible to start someplace plausible, and move into as much sci-fi as you need. I know it was possible in 2015 because I saw it happen in 1993.

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Tim Wilson
Re: Jurassic World
on Jun 17, 2015 at 8:58:56 pm

[Mike Cohen] "Entertainment Weekly makes it sound like Chris Pratt is the second coming of Harrison Ford"

There is no better parallel between any two actors in history. Or two anythings in history.

I think Chris is also a better actor at this stage of his career, at least partly because he had Han Solo as a starting place. You can draw a sharp straight line from Han to Peter Quill, adding a dash of the derring-do in exotic locations of Indiana Jones.

Guardians of the Galaxy explicitly paid tribute to both. The opening sequence with the GotG orb tribute to the RotLA statue on a pedestal, and the smuggling contraband under the floor boards of what's apparently a jalopy of a ship but actually not -- it couldn't have been screaming more loudly, "HARRISON FORD TRIBUTE."

They're different though. Ford has a sharp intelligence that, when focused, can turn cold. Pratt is warm and vulnerable, and, when focused, still manages to stay softer.

While Chris is likely not going to play ruthless the way Ford could in Presumed Innocent, or even Indiana Jones. The first one more than hints at statutory rape, and certainly a viciousness when called on it, but think of the different ways that Indy and Peter Quill would deliver the line, "Nazis! I hate these guys."

I swear, though, there is no way in any universe, no matter how far away or long ago, that Ford could come CLOSE to pulling off what Chris did in Everwood. A tour de force master class in vulnerability, and the struggle between the intelligence he wishes he had and the heart he comes to appreciate as more valuable. When his star football player falls head over heels with a nerd girl as he tries to integrate all the dimensions of his personality -- astounding. Ford tried something like this in Regarding Henry and missed by a galaxy. Pratt's is of the most endearing performances in TV history and you guys are missing it when it's just a Netflix away.

And a lot of you won't like it because it's not mean or condescending. LOL It's sweet, which tends not to go over so well....but it really is a masterwork. A true supporting role that entirely elevates the proceedings...which were already pretty high. Everwood is an overlooked gem that warranted far more than the 4 seasons it got.

The issue for Chris in Jurassic World is this. Imagine the hunter guy in Jurassic Park. He's a dour know-it-all, but it's a small role, and we're perfectly happy to see him die.

Now make THAT guy the star of the movie, and have Han Solo play him, and you can get some sense of the tremendous dissonance that never gets resolved.

Not Chris's fault, any more than the problems with Bryce's character are hers. These aren't bad actors. Their characters are just drawn that way.

Which brings me back to the central conflict. We identify with the dinosaurs more often than we don't. Killing them to justify the screw-ups of humans doesn't work for me.

[Mike Cohen] "the IMAX 3D version which was very well done, though it was the original cinematography which made that possible."

All good 3D relies on good cinematography. Three best cinematography Oscars in a row were given to the DPs of 3D movies -- Hugo, Life of Pi, and Gravity -- and they were in fact shot like dreams...even if I hated 2 of the 3 movies. LOL

I did think this was good cinematography, and solid 3D. Any fan of the 3D JP is going to think every bit as highly as this one. Audiences ran about 50-50 for 3D in the US, which I think has EVERYTHING to do with the response to JP 3D, and about 60-40 overseas, which is actually pretty typical.

Aside from the ethical imperative that I feel that other artists have a duty to support artistic integrity by seeing 3D pictures in 3D, and refuse to participate in the greedy, anti-artist 2D moneygrab that cynical studios are trying to foist on gullible audiences -- seeing this in 2D almost amounts to throwing away your money.

I said almost. But hey, some people like throwing away their money. LOL It's all good. Where would Hollywood be if people were careful about how they spend their money on movies? LOL

While we're talking about this, I should note that some of the best 3D ever is on Avengers 2, which I didn't much for. I didn't HATE it, but it felt like a missed opportunity. But in the commentary for Avengers 1, Joss Whedon talked a LOT about his visual choices for 3D, even more than he talked about character or script. That was a 3D movie from the ground up, explicitly, consciously, and carefully.

Joss also talked a lot about what he learned about 3D filmmaking on A1, and very much put it to work on A2. A lot of the movie that made no visual sense in 2D made all the sense in the world in 3D, because it's not a 2D movie. It's a 3D movie, and every visual choice was made based on that.

Unlike JW, whose sequel gives me no interest, I'm VERY interested in A3. It's being shepherded by the Russo brothers, the same guys who gave us Captain America: The Winter which they reveal in the commentary that Captain America is himself the Winter Soldier, and NOT Bucky, which both makes sense, and sets up the dynamic that has Steve Rogers walking away from Captain America.

The Russo brothers also gave us a much more nuanced Black Widow. In A2, she was little more than an unrequited love interest. She didn't have a key action scene comparable to what she had in A1. I'm really, really looking forward to seeing what they do with her as much as anything else.

SO ANYWAY, yes, Chris Pratt is in fact the next Harrison Ford, with a personality that shades much more to warmth than coldness, and the filmmakers of JW do him a disservice.

[Mike Cohen] "...could not believe Spielberg directed this broad, poorly acted drivel"

Again noting that I place the blame on the script, the direction here really felt like Spielberg In A Can. Certainly visually, where a number of shots and camera moves went further than I think "homage" is the right word for. I cut Colin Treverrow a LOT of slack. He's young and inexperience, and if he's going to crib from anyone, it should be JP-era Spielberg.

But that's a whole other rant, and I've offered enough of those for now.


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Scott Roberts
Re: Jurassic World
on Jun 30, 2015 at 11:18:40 pm

There's almost *so* many nitpicking arguments that I've become overwhelmed and wouldn't know where to begin!

Not that I really feel the need to defend the movie. It was what it was. I was entertained. The original Jurassic park isn't without it's dumb plot holes as well, but yeah, obviously that was a more well made movie than World.

I don't know, picking apart the cell phone reception on a magical dinosaur island would certainly distract me from the entertainment value as well. That's probably why I didn't do it. ;)

Now that we're three weeks in, it's on pace to be the #3 highest grossing domestic movie of all time behind two James Cameron movies which you should already know; True Lies, and The Abyss.

Couldn't resist.

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Mike Cohen
Re: Jurassic World
on Jul 6, 2015 at 6:32:02 pm

Having read this thread before seeing JW, I saw JW with not quite a clean slate. But I tried my best to ignore most of what you all have already said and set out to enjoy the movie, which I did.
I expected it to be absolute drivel, given the fact that Planet of the Apes II the New Batch was the most recent tripe written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. I know they did a great job with Planet of the Apes 1: Electric Apealoo, and of course they are on board for Avater 2: The Second to Last Airbender , and Avatar 3: The Last Crusade, so Jim Cameron must see something in them. I get the feeling this duo is now known in movie-land as the go-to writers to fill in dialogue between action sequences.

I will agree with and add to the following:

The younger kid did a great job. I think they missed an opportunity to establish him as afraid of heights, which would have made it more satisfying when he and his brother did a Butch / Sundance leap into the river.

Bryce Howard did an awful lot of running around in 11" heels.
She and Chris Pratt seem to have had an unseen first date before the movie started. Since Pratt is basically Indiana Jones, there is no telling how long the two of them will stay together. I did like the silhouette shot at the end, very Spielbergian. Overall Bryce's character was quite uninteresting.

Geek in the control room - give him his own movie.

Security contractor guy - he was dino-food from the first time he opened his mouth.

Some of the technology problems would never have happened, unless there was some kind of sabotage like Newman was doing in JP1. If that's the case, then it seems there is a longer game in play. The fact that Dr Wu is back from JP1 20+ years ago was quite brilliant, and to suggest that he may have been part of a decades-long conspiracy all along is quite clever indeed.

Ditto all the stuff about the hamster balls. After the racing car debacle of Disneyland's 1955 opening, theme parks have known better than to give guests too much control of vehicles.

The closest parallel to JW in real life is Disney's Animal Kingdom, complete with a big theme building in the middle and lots of bad chain restaurants. But when you take the animal safari ride, it may be a gas powered truck, but it goes along a set path and you barely see any animals. I read that the animals are conditioned to return to their cages when a particular tone is sounded over the PA system. And you can be sure there is hard-wired communication in the park.

If JW has a miles-long monorail track, when rely on spotty cell phone coverage? I am surprised Verizon would want to be promoted as sponsoring a monster, and presumably the bad cell phone reception that surely got some people killed. I wonder how much money changes hands between Verizon and the movie's producers. By the way, I have Verizon and think they are great, especially the Verizon hot spot built into my Verizon phone, which by the way, I bought at a Verizon store at the mall.

As for the Mercedes vehicles, I would have imagined Range Rovers in a place like this. I only see Mercedes SUVs in places like Miami and LA - two places where all terrain vehicles are completely for show. In JP1 they had Ford Explorers on the ride, a fairly new vehicle at the time, and of course before the roll over problem was revealed, and of course the previously mentioned gas jeeps for staff.

Speaking of which, if older brother failed his driving test, how does he know how to immediately drive a stick? His parents have a minivan and probably an Outback or similar automatic wagon.
I guess in a pinch you figure it out.

I guess all these silly criticisms are as relevant to a tight screenplay as seeing people pay for a taxi or stop to use the bathroom.

I'm rambling. I give this movie a 7.5 due to the silly problems, but overall it was fun. Better than Ultron.


PS - If Sam Neill or Jeff Goldblum are not in Jurassic World 2: The Legend of Hammond's Gold, then I'm staying home.

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Mike Cohen
Re: Jurassic World
on Jul 6, 2015 at 6:39:11 pm

So this is interesting, Jurassic World, in a short period of time, has set the following records for box office:

Jurassic World (29 records)
Opening Weekend $208,806,270
Summer Opening $208,806,270
June Opening $208,806,270
Rated PG-13 Opening $208,806,270
Second Weekend $106,588,440
Top Opening Theater Average - Wide Release $48,855
Top Theater Average - Wide Release $48,855
Saturday Gross $69,644,830
Sunday Gross $57,207,490
Non-Holiday Monday $25,344,820
Non-Opening Tuesday $24,342,515
Opening Week $296,211,625
3-Day Gross $208,806,270
4-Day Gross $234,151,090
5-Day Gross $258,493,605
6-Day Gross $278,389,075
7-Day Gross $296,211,655
8-Day Gross $325,326,090
9-Day Gross $364,438,525
10-Day Gross $402,800,065
Fastest to $100M 2 days
Fastest to $150M 2 days
Fastest to $200M 3 days
Fastest to $250M 5 days
Fastest to $300M 8 days
Fastest to $350M 9 days
Fastest to $400M 10 days
Fastest to $450M 15 days
Fastest to $500M 17 days

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Tim Wilson
Re: Jurassic World
on Jul 6, 2015 at 6:48:19 pm

Sequel box office numbers reflect NOTHING on the quality of the movie, and EVERYTHING on the audience interest in the franchise.

Which is to say, it's not even a ratification of the current movie at all. It's a ratification of the NEXT one.

And indeed, the more I think about this movie, the more reasons I have to despise it. My estimation of it is plummeting so quickly that I haven't had time to write it down. I'm definitely the fastest typist you've ever seen -- it's the only superlative I can ascribe to myself, so I cheerfully do -- but even I can't type fast enough to chart my contempt for this.

I promise I'll get to it. LOL It's so execrable that it really deserves to be documented in the fullness of its many offenses to moviegoing in general and this franchise in particular, while acknowledging that it has entirely fulfilled its primary function: successfully determined that a sequel is imperative. No sense in leaving billions of dollars on the table. Mama raised no fools whatsoever.

In the meantime, I'll observe that, upon their immediate release, any Star Wars movie with Jake Lloyd or Hayden Christensen outgrossed any Star Wars with Harrison Ford. You young'uns might be okay with that. I'm okay with it as a gauge of interest in the next one -- my prediction: biggest movie NOT controlled for inflation; my related prediction: Titanic holds the adjusted earnings title for many years to come.

However, the larger grosses don't suggest to me that I'm missing something special in the "first three" Star Wars pictures, or over-estimating the quality of Episodes 4 and 5 in particular.

That said, I love that y'all are talking grosses! I talked grosses in this forum for YEARS and couldn't get anyone else to join in the fun. Welcome!

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Mike Cohen
Re: Jurassic World
on Jul 6, 2015 at 7:07:55 pm

Agree with you 100% Tim. Phantom Menace made close to a billion dollars worldwide not because it was the apex of cinema, but because it was highly anticipated.

Take, in contrast, Terminator 14, which opened last week. It was not only not highly anticipated, but aside from Ah-nold being in it there is little about the movie to be excited about. With a $155 million budget (plus marketing which is easily another $50 million worldwide, this movie made $44 million in one week. $44 million would be amazing for say The Hangover 4 or Anchorman 6, but not for a Terminator movie.

So this fits your criteria of anticipation being the main indicator of box office.

Avatar and Titanic seem to have made the most money overall because not only were they anticipated, they were also well made and people went back multiple times.

Tim, I'd be happy to join you and the others on this forum to a Google Hangout sometime to discuss this theory further. We should be doing those types of things anyway here in 2015.


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Mike Cohen
Re: Jurassic World
on Jul 6, 2015 at 7:31:21 pm

Incidentally, while John Williams' JP themes were used in key scenes, the rest of the score was composed by Michael Giaccino (LOST, Star Trek and every other JJ production, not to mention countless movies. I can say nothing bad about they guy or any film composer. ).

On Superman Returns, the best parts were the parts which paid homage to the original, notably the opening credits and love theme which had some melodic parts of the original (again, Williams' themes) but overall score was composed by the film's editor John Ottman). This is the first movie that came to mind where the composer borrows from an earlier composer who actually created the catchy theme song.

Actually, upon further research, Jurassic Park III was scored by Don Davis (The Matrix), plus Williams' themes.

And of course the Star Wars animated TV shows do this. Rebels and CLone Wars are scored by Kevin Kiner (CSI Miami, numerous tv series) with lots of Williams themes especially from Star Wars IV, which I think we should start calling Star Wars '77, sometimes too much use of the old music as if it is not nostalgic enough.

ANyway, I hope Williams and his offspring are being well compensated!

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Tim Wilson
Re: Jurassic World
on Jul 6, 2015 at 8:48:52 pm

Buried at work, but I want to make some speedy replies:

-- Good call on reminding us on the difference between "theme" and "score." In my wonderful feelings for the JP theme, I actually found myself thinking, "But this score doesn't feel at all as heavy and inflexible as his usual scores. Maybe John has learned to lighten up in his old age." I'd never put it together before: I really don't like his SCORES much at all, but I LOVE his THEMES. Surely the greatest THEME writer in movie history.

And in thinking that this SCORE was uncharacteristically nimble, it didn't cross my mind that somebody else was doing this one. So glad you pointed this out! I'll pay more attention to this.

[Mike Cohen] "Avatar and Titanic seem to have made the most money overall because not only were they anticipated, they were also well made and people went back multiple times."

Number of weeks in theaters, domestic:

Titanic: 41 weeks. Opening weekend gross: 3% of total theatrical run
Avatar: 34 weeks, 10%
Avengers: 22 weekends, but check this: THIRTY THREE PERCENT of domestic cume in the opening weekend.

It definitely jumps out that JW is at #4 on its 4th weekend.

But it's especially striking that there's such a change in the SHAPE of moviegoing. It's so, so front-loaded now!

I have a guess about Titanic because I traveled in Europe at the time, but my impression is that it stayed in theaters even longer outside the US. Like maybe a LOT longer.

I think one way this bears out is that its foreign bo was around 70%. Avatar was 73%. Compare this to 59% for Avengers and JW.

This COMPLETELY flies in the face of conventional wisdom, that foreign markets need big stars (Leo and Kate were MADE stars by Titanic; no stars to speak of from Avatar), need movies that skew toward action and away from script nuance (Cameron is VERY story oriented, even in his most action-y pictures), etc.

I was going to say it's time for a reappraisal of Cameron too, but obviously not. You know who REALLY gets this, is film critics. There's no director with a higher average Tomato-meter score for critics. Not Scorsese, not Spielberg, not anybody else. I think if you ask those critics what they think about Cameron vs. those other two, he'd come in third....but when it comes to the actual movies, taken as a whole, Cameron delivers better than anyone, and I think critics are AHEAD of the public on recognizing this....

...Which is why I have no patience for the "critics don't get it" meme. I think that mostly comes from audiences who aren't paying attention to critics. LOL

And fwiw, the Tomato-meter for JW is 71% (which honestly strikes me as about right) vs. 98% for Inside Out, 95% for Spy. None of those seem out of whack. Interesting, the biggest disparity is Spy, with audiences only going 80% positive, but it's not like Spy is so high-falutin' or scholarly that "only" a critic would love it.


That change in that revenue arc -- I get the impression that one reason they yank pictures from theaters so quickly is that they've changed the juice-squeezing machine. I think they think that another dozen weeks in theaters will a) not really affect the cume for JW or Avengers, b) get in the way of a new front-loaded movie opening on 3500 screens....

....and for Marvel, c) gum up the schedule for the next 5 years. They've already mapped out 20 pictures to open between now and 2020, with TV stuff too, so really, 5 monthis in theaters is asking a lot.

and d) of course, the relative decline of theatrical exhibition as a percentage of revenue.

Here's where JW is making it up in volume. Digital cinema means never having to say I don't have enough prints. Need to move more JW tickets? Flip a switch, show it in another theater RIGHT NOW. There were theaters in my area with 20 or more JW showings a day, and my neck of the woods (Palm Springs) skews quite a bit older than me, which is to say, REALLY OLD.

Of course many of those people were your age when JP came out and they loved it, as well they should have, and they love Chris Pratt, as well they should.

Anyway, there's a lot of ways to talk about what revenue means as revenue, without dragging quality into it.

I treat grosses kind of like baseball stats and standings, far more than football actually, precisely because there are more numbers to parse, higher degrees of statistical significance, and really, if you're paying attention, the numbers tell a story that may be more compelling than the "actual" story...which may be terrible. Case in point. LOL

[Mike Cohen] "$44 million would be amazing for say The Hangover 4 "

Interestingly, Hangover III opened at $41 million! I'm a little startled that the production budget was $100 million, but that opening of $41m is down from $85 million for Hangover II! Which, again, I don't take as any comment on either of those, but as a statement of the public's interest. The trick is to make a Hangover IV that'll make you back your money with a $20 million opening....

...which is how you swap out Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray in Caddyshack for Jackie Mason and Brian Doyle-Murray in Caddyshack II.

But your point is very well taken indeed. From what I read, this Terminator blows up the previous canon, as if the last two movies hadn't happened (fine by me, I've already forgotten about them anyway) -- but they did it in hopes of starting a new franchise. Oops!

It's a shame that the TV adaptation didn't do better. What a joy that was! Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles focuses the story where it actually always WAS focused, especially in the first one -- still the best MOVIE of the bunch -- and cast Lena Headley as Sarah. Genius. Terrific turns by Summer Glau as a Terminator (and indeed the one who speaks the line to John Connor, "Come with me if you want to live"), and the great Shirley Manson (lead singer of the GREAT Garbage) as the calculating SkyNet CEO (what's that you say? SHE MAY BE A TERMINATOR TOO?????).

I coulda told them going in, sorry fellas, at $150 million production budget, you better pray for much bigger love on Netflix than you're gonna get in theaters.

[Mike Cohen] "Tim, I'd be happy to join you and the others on this forum to a Google Hangout sometime to discuss this theory further. We should be doing those types of things anyway here in 2015."

Mike, I've been meaning to do hangouts for forever. I always thought it'd be a fun thing to do pre and post NAB, for example. I agree, talking about movies and TV would be fun too. I'll think about that over the summer and see what I can figure out.

Of course I'll need to figure out Google+ all over again. I got an invitation to connect from someone I actually like this week LOL and discovered that, other than some stuff I fed from my other social networks as an experiment, my last ACTUAL post to G+ was in 2011!!!

Anyway, great point! Thanks for the reminder. I'll definitely follow up on this.

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Mike Cohen
Re: Jurassic World
on Jul 6, 2015 at 9:08:25 pm

I only mentioned Google + because it is a free way to do multi person video chat and record it/stream it. I use GotoMeeting, but you need to screen capture to get a good recording and not sure how that would work with video. I have actually been researching ways to do high quality non-webcam computer based video conferencing, and it is a mixed bag. Cisco and Polycom want you to buy dedicated Video Conferencing hardware, but lots of people wanting to do video conferencing can't afford $50,000 worth of dedicated gear for occasional events.
More on this later.



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Tim Wilson
Re: Jurassic World
on Jul 6, 2015 at 9:51:46 pm

[Mike Cohen] "I only mentioned Google + because it is a free way to do multi person video chat and record it/stream it."

My verrrrry preliminary poking around led me in the same direction. There's a difference between "video group chat that we can post later" and "video conference" or "webinar." We do webinars very successfully, but those are more one-to-many, and until you start ratcheting up the premiums, video conferencing maxes out around 4 people.

I see that Google hangouts allows up to 10 video clients, but can have up 100 people on the air, so I'm hoping that some kind of mixing and matching is doable.

Anyway, starting to get a little far off topic, even for me, but I'm looking forward to looking into this....

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Mike Cohen
Re: Jurassic World
on Jul 7, 2015 at 12:17:58 am

Back to JP and J Williams

First John Williams. He has indeed created most of the recent movie themes that the average person can either hum, whistle or identify.
Indiana Jones
Star Wars
Schindler's List (not exactly whistle while you work music, but quite striking when you hear it)
*t*terHarry+ 6* ( that was supposed to be Harry Potter but my dog hit a few keys)

He also has a host of movies with great scores and nice themes, though less recognizable by the movie going public
Saving Private Ryan
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Empire of the Sun
Home Alone

The rest of a movie score is generally incidental music in the background or music to accentuate emotion, drama or action, though in most cases not anything you would hum or whistle after the movie.

With some exceptions. Someone like Williams is able to create additional themes within a movie that can become just as well known as the main theme. The Imperial March, Duel of the Fates or Cantina Band music from Star Wars, for example, can stand alone as works of art without the movie. I was at a Star Wars in Concert performance a few years ago and when the Imperial March played the crowd went bananas.

Other composers have had similar success with hummable themes (Alan Silvestri with Back to the Future and Forrest Gump; Jerry Goldsmith with Gremlins, Star Trek the Next Generation, Star Trek the Movie, Planet of the Apes, Man from UNCLE, Air Force One; John Barry with 12 Bond films, Dances with Wolves; Hans Zimmer with Batman trilogy, Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc, and of course Danny Elfman with Batman 1989, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Men in Black).

Again these are hummable theme songs. Yet few of these movies also have an Imperial March in them. Those are hard to come by apparently.

An interesting factoid about John Williams. When recording the music for the last reel of ET, Williams and the London Symphony recorded several takes and could not get the timing to line up perfectly, so he and Spielberg selected the best take, and then in a rare event in film, Spielberg re-cut the last reel of the movie to better match the music.

More on JP next.

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Tim Wilson
Re: Jurassic World
on Jul 7, 2015 at 1:36:15 am

[Mike Cohen] "Someone like Williams is able to create additional themes within a movie that can become just as well known as the main theme. The Imperial March, Duel of the Fates or Cantina Band music from Star Wars, for example, can stand alone as works of art without the movie. I was at a Star Wars in Concert performance a few years ago and when the Imperial March played the crowd went bananas."

Agreed completely. I loves me some movie soundtracks, and have a number of them. Of all that I can recall, the one that I think completely sticks the landing for every element is JW's for Star Wars.

Which I don't actually own. LOL But certainly as a pops performance, I can't imagine anything that would even come close to being as entertaining or well-received.

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Mike Cohen
Re: Jurassic World
on Jul 7, 2015 at 2:48:11 am

Even Williams' incidental music can be memorable. I have a 4-CD set of music from the Star Wars Trilogy - the 4th disc is incidental music, though some tracks are still quite hummable, even just short cues.
For example, the last reel of Empire, from Han going into the Carbon Freeze to Luke getting rescued by Lando has numerous little bits that are downright symphonic, as if they came out of a larger concerto.

Now on to more JW (Jurassic World, not John Williams) commentary.

I understand the JW staff must live on Isla Nublar, probably in dormitory style housing. How exactly did Chris Pratt get an Airstream trailer and bungalow?

And he is ex-Navy. I have to assume he trained dolphins to detect mines, because animal training is not a natural skill. Was he a SEAL? They certainly know all sorts of weapons and vehicles and plenty of other skills which might come into play in JW II and III.

Bryce, upon further introspection, was simply a poorly conceived character. She was the usual damsel in distress. In movie-land very few women have been able to be action heroes - Angelina, Mila, 1990's Linda Hamilton and of course Sigourney Weaver. JW missed an opportunity to have Bryce be a little more of a badass, and perhaps give Pratt a bit more of a challenge. Sure we see Bryce do some driving and she does go get T-Rex at the end, but I would have liked to have seen her get a little messier and perhaps walk away with a scar or something - which could have been an opportunity for Pratt to show some affection, rather than just assuming she wanted to be kissed at the end. The chemistry between them was not much better than Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman (sorry to always go back to this contrived romance, but it was so bad - I now believe the Dark Side of the Force brought them together).

You what another issue is? I saw this movie two days ago, and I don't remember the names of any of the major characters. One of the kids was named Grey, the other kid was like Gary or Parker?
Pratt's idea. Bryce...Tabitha?! I remember one of the Raptors was named Blue and of course Dr Wu we've met before.

I saw The Matrix like 15 years ago and know that Neo and Morpheus were the main characters. How could you for get names like that?

In JP we had Ian Malcolm, Alan Grant and Ellie Sadler (sp?) - I cared about those people. Ian Malcolm was an enigma - he was designed to be an over the top character who everyone remembers. John Hammond and his grandchildren Timmy and Lexie - those kids were in serious peril and really bonded with Dr Grant in a short 24 hour period.

The kids in JW were sort of in peril, though the older kid seemed well prepared for these scenarios and the younger kid seemed pretty ok with being chased by dinosaurs - probably played a lot of Call of Duty.

And of course Nedry was devious and comic relief. I don't remember Sam Jackson's character's name.

Ok, I looked this up. Pratt's character was named Owen Grady. Bryce played Claire Dearing. The kids were Zach and Gray. Whatever.

Everyone agrees that the control room geek played by Jake Johnson was the true conscience of the movie. He was in Safety Not Guaranteed, the indie film that put Colin Trevorrow on the map. We should all make a movie with this kind of moxie.

Ok, nitey night.


PS - overall the movie was fun, though obviously could have used a script polish. Perhaps John Logan or Steven Knight could be consulted on the next one.

PPS - In my list of hummable movie themes not by John Williams, I would be remiss if I did not mention Bill Conti for Rocky.

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